Find your ideal cycling holiday
Sri Lanka - North to South
9th February 2020 - 26th February 2020 (18 days)
Recognised by Lonely Planet in 2012 as their top holiday destination, Sri Lanka certainly packs in a lot of interest for the cycle tourist. From the 2,500 year old ancient city relics on the rice growing plains of the ‘Cultural Triangle’ to the dramatic mountain scenery of the central Hill Country and the idyllic palm lined beaches along the southern coast, the island boasts a very diverse range of scenic and cultural delights. This variety of habitats also helps to explain the abundant and varied wildlife, with wild elephants and monkeys and an exotic range of brightly coloured birds, many of which are unique to the island.
This new end-to-end tour has been designed to show this diversity and take in many of the country’s main highlights.
- Holiday Type Guided
- Tour Manager Julie & Nic Hodgetts
- Grade Challenging
- Booking Status Fully Booked
- Accommodation Hotel & Guesthouse
- Board Basis Half Board
- Travel Arrangements Land Only
- Road / Off Road Road
- Holiday Style Moving-on
- Vehicle Support Full Vehicle Support
- Holiday Ref 03345
Sunday 9th February
Meet at Bandaranaike International Airport, Sri Lanka. Coach transfer to the hotel in Negombo. Stay 1 night.
Monday 10th February
Train to Jaffna at the northern tip of Sri Lanka, with bikes transported by road. Stay 2 nights.
Tuesday 11th February
Cycle along the Jaffna Peninsula coast with its fabulous beaches and clear waters.
Wednesday 12th February
Cycle south along the east coast to Mannar Island, connected to the mainland by a thin causeway. 116km (332m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Thursday 13th February
Cycle to Anuradhapura, a World Heritage Site famous for its well preseved ruins and the former capital of Sri Lanka. 122km (612m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Friday 14th February
Cycle along quiet roads and waterway tracks to Inamaluwa. 100km (400m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Saturday 15th February
Cycle to Giritale with the option to visit Sigiriya Rock. 71km (314m total ascent). Stay 2 nights.
Sunday 16th February
Explore the nearby ancient city of Polonnaruwa. 32km loop (168m total ascent).
Monday 17th February
Cycle to Mahiyanganaya. 102km (838m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Tuesday 18th February
Cycle into the cooler hills to Ella. 81km (1,624m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Wednesday 19th February
Cycle through tea plantations to Nuwara Eliya. 61km (1,874m total ascent). Stay 2 nights.
Thursday 20th February
Explore Nuwara Eliya by bike including a visit to a tea plantation.
Friday 21st February
Cycle to Haputale. 65km (829m total ascent). Stay 1 night.
Saturday 22nd February
Cycle to Uda Walawe. 93km (715m total ascent). Optional Jeep safari on arrival. Stay 1 night.
Sunday 23rd February
Early morning visit to an elephant orphanage. Cycle to Sri Lanka's most southernly point at Dondra Lighthouse, then along the southern coast to Koggala. 120km (1,156m total ascent). Stay 2 nights.
Monday 24th February
Free day to explore the fortified city of Galle, whale watching at Mirissa or relax on the beach.
Tuesday 25th February
Coach transfer to Negombo. Pack up bikes. Stay 1 night.
Wednesday 26th February
Transfer to Bandaranaike International Airport where the tour ends.
Accommodation & Meals
Reasonable quality locally-owned hotels and larger guesthouses will be used, two sharing double or twin rooms with air conditioning or ceiling fans and ensuite facilities, though these will seldom be up to western standards. Meals will be on a half-board basis, and vegetarian options will be available if indicated on the Booking Form. Lunches will be your own responsibility, though there are many wayside stops serving local food. Bottled water will be provided from the back-up coach.
A back-up coach with local driver and English speaking guide will provide support each day. It will transfer luggage between hotels and will be used to transfer passengers with their bikes as required.
Passports, Visa & Health
All nationalities must hold a passport with at least six months validity on the date of their return to their home country. A visa is required, which you will be responsible for obtaining on-line before departure.
There are no compulsory health-related requirements for foreign visitors, although it is strongly recommended that you are vaccinated against Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Polio, Tetanus and Diptheria. You should contact your doctor at least three months prior to travel to obtain these vaccinations and the latest advice to travellers.
Our Booking Conditions stipulate that, for holidays outside the UK, travel Insurance is mandatory. Details of the level of cover needed and other conditions you should check are stated in the Booking Conditions. CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any costs that may be incurred due to insufficient insurance cover.
The price of £1,250 is based on a minimum number of 10 people taking part in the holiday; please note Booking Conditions, clause 3. If there are insufficient bookings by 1st December 2019, we will contact you and return all monies paid, although in certain circumstances the holiday may still run at below minimum numbers but at the same price.
- Coach transfers between Bandaranaike International Airport and hotel
- Train to Jaffna
- Coach transfer from Galle to Negombo
- 17 nights hotel/guesthouse, half-board, sharing room
- Back-up coach and baggage transfers between hotels
- Services of an English speaking guide throughout the tour
- CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours costs
Price Does Not Include
- Travel to and from Bandaranaike International Airport, Sri Lanka
- Meals in transit
- Drinks with evening meals
- Lunches or refreshments at morning and afternoon stops
- Entry fees at any attractions visited (allow £150)
- Any other personal expenses
- Visa costs ($35 at October 2018)
- Travel Insurance
A deposit of £400 per person is payable upon booking, with the final balance of £850 per person to be paid ten weeks prior to departure, by 1st December 2019.
Should you be forced to cancel your booking for any reason you must notify us in writing. Cancellation charges are as follows:
Written notice received:
Before 1st December 2019
From 1st December 2019 through to departure
The Area Covered By The Holiday
This new end-to-end tour of Sri Lanka travels from its northern tip to its most southerly point at Dondra Lighthouse. Leaving the Jaffna peninsula with its golden beaches and clear water, cycle through an ancient and fertile land of lakes. Pass through the 'cultural triangle' into the hill country, home to Sri Lanka's tea plantations and former colonial towns, then down to the coast to Sri Lanka's most southernly point. Cycle along quiet roads and waterway tracks, through bustling villages, climbing into the central hills along winding mountain roads.
Rides & Rest Days
Most days will be spent cycling, but there will be plenty of time for photo stops and to meet the friendly Sinhalese as they go about their daily lives. There may be one or two led groups if required or the group can meet up at key junctions and lunch stops. The back-up coach will leap-frog from back to front to make sure everyone is OK, has plenty of water and to arrange planned stops. It will have space to take some bikes and riders should anyone prefer not to cycle all or part of a day.
The terrain is varied with long flat roads and long steep climbs in the central highlands. Road surfaces are usually reasonable, but there will be several rough sections and the occasional unsurfaced track. Traffic volumes will be low by western standards but will increase around major settlements and tourist areas.
Accommodation & Meals
The staple diet in Sri Lanka is rice and curry, though there will be some opportunities to eat ‘western’ style food in the hotels. Lunch will be your responsibility, giving you the opportunity to choose when and where you want to stop, select your own food and sample traditional foods. Biscuits, bread and fruit can usually be found, and there are many wayside restaurants with extraordinarily reasonable prices. If you don’t like curry, this probably isn’t the tour for you, although Sri Lanka has a milder cuisine than India. Imported lager, wine or spirits will be available most evenings; prices tend to be similar to those in the UK. Cheaper options are locally-produced lager and spirits. Tea, coffee, soft drinks and freshly squeezed fruit juice are widely available. You are advised to drink only bottled water, and a free supply will be available on the back-up coach for use when cycling.
Travel to and from Sri Lanka is to be arranged by yourselves. Additional information about flight options and the meeting time at Bandaranaike International airport will be circulated at time of booking. It is very important that you note that neither the Tour Managers nor CTC Holidays & Tours are responsible for you in any way until the appointed time at the designated meeting point. Should you fail to arrive at the appointed time for whatever reason, we will not be responsible for any additional expenses you may incur in order to meet up with the tour group. Before finalising travel arrangements to meet the tour, you should ensure that you have read and understood our booking conditions. Should this tour not attract sufficient bookings to reach the minimum operating size, we may cancel the tour at any time up to 10 weeks before departure. It is therefore recommended that you book fully flexible and refundable transport and accommodation, or wait until you have been told the tour will go ahead, as in the event of the tour being cancelled, we will not be responsible for any losses incurred.
The maximum number of participants will be 18 excluding the Tour Managers.
Weather & Clothing
Daytime temperatures remain fairly constant at about 26-30C, and it is usually very humid. Temperatures drop to a more pleasant 14-17C in the hill country, and it can be colder at night. The main variable is rainfall. This tour is planned for what has typically been the dry season with little or no rain. However, torrential downpours and longer wet periods have occurred in recent years. Wet and misty conditions are also possible in the hill region at any time of year. You are recommended to take clothes suitable for hot and humid tropical conditions, but also pack an extra warm layer for the cooler evenings and a lightweight waterproof in case it rains and for the long descents from the mountains.
You will be required to cover your legs and shoulders when visiting temples. Long sleeved shirts and trousers are therefore useful and provide added protection from mosquitoes in the evenings. High factor sun cream and head protection against the sun is strongly recommended. We strongly recommend wearing a cycle helmet, but only when on your bike.
Cycles & Equipment
A lightweight mountain bike, hybrid or touring bike with a bottom gear of 27 inches or less and robust 28/32mm tyres is recommended. Mudguards are optional. Please ensure that your bike is in good working order, and bring tools and spares for basic repairs and maintenance. Lights will be useful, as it gets dark at about 1830, and they are an added safety feature in misty or rainy conditions. Luggage will be carried in the back-up coach, but you will need to be able to carry spare clothing, camera, money and emergency food and spares on the bike. Bikes may be transferred in a open top lorry and, although we will try and oversee their safe packing, they may incur scrapes and scratches.
Maps & Guides
GPX files will be provided for GPS devices, and mapping of Sri Lanka for Garmins can be provided upon request. Maps by Nelles Verlag 1:450,000 and Berndtson & Berndtson 1:500,000 are useful, but the Rough Guide 1:500,000 map is probably the best.
Various companies provide guidebooks, but the best choices would appear to be those produced by Rough Guide and Lonely Planet.
Travel Insurance & Advice
Before booking you should check the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice or on 0845 850 2829.